Dean Ivory is looking forward to saddling stable favourite Librisa Breeze in the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Now a seven-year-old, Librisa Breeze enjoyed his biggest success in the same contest on Champions Day in 2017, providing the first top-level strike in the career of his trainer.
Ivory said: “That win was absolutely fantastic and what a wonderful horse to have done it with. He’s a lovely horse, an out-and-out professional.
“He’s stabled by the office where I am and even though he’s had his feed and it might be dark outside, he still has his head out over his stable door. When he sees me going home, he calls to say goodnight!”
While Librisa Breeze has not made it back to the winner’s circle since his Ascot triumph, he looked on good terms with himself on his only start this year in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury in August, travelling well in the seven-furlong contest and only going down by half a length to Glorious Journey.
That run also heralded a new horse and jockey partnership, with Joey Haynes taking over from Robert Winston, who announced his retirement from the saddle last month. Winston had ridden Librisa Breeze from April 2016 to November 2018, guiding him to four victories including the Champions Day success.
Haynes will keep the ride on Saturday and Ivory said: “Joey has been riding a lot more for me [this season]. Timing is a big thing in these bigger races as you can’t come too soon but you don’t want to leave it too late. You’ve got to know the power of the horse underneath you to press the button at the right time.
“That’s what Robert was good at, as he rode him a number of times. Robert rode him when he was rated in the 80s and we brought him through the ranks together. Now it’s Joey’s turn.”
Librisa Breeze is one of 17 runners on Saturday, the betting headed by Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest hero Advertise and Haydock Sprint Cup victor Hello Youmzain. While Ivory has only managed to get a single run into his gelding this campaign, he believes his charge is capable of another big performance at Ascot.
“He does like a bit of cut in the ground, though it may be on the heavy side for him,” said Ivory. “We’ve slowly but surely got him to where we want him for the big day.
“Ideally I would have liked to get a couple more runs into him; at least we know he likes Ascot. We’re not expecting to come in with real high chances but he’s going there to run a big race.”
Ivory will also saddle Flaming Spear – like Librisa Breeze owned by Tony Bloom, who won the Cesarewitch last Saturday with Stratum – in the competitive Balmoral Handicap over the straight mile.
He said: “Flaming Spear has had an issue or two over the last few months, but his run at Goodwood was very encouraging. I ran him at Newbury [finishing last behind Librisa Breeze in the Hungerford Stakes] and after that we had him scoped, which showed he had some issues.
“It’s just whether or not he gets home over the mile in that type of ground. It might be a little too heavy for him.”
With 39 winners on the board in 2019, Radlett handler Ivory has equalled his best ever campaigns in 2013 and 2018. Librisa Breeze and Flaming Spear could well help him surpass that total at the weekend.
“We’ve had quite a good season,” said Ivory. “You’ve always got to be positive and keep pushing yourself – we hope to beat our previous best.”